The puns are almost as good as the story itself. Ever since Jeremy Lin has been winning (cue the pun: Linning), there are websites full of Lin puns. Heck, even I used one in the title. I can’t help it.
Jeremy Lin is tearing up the media outlets and if he continues to play like this, there is no stopping it. Questions of, can Carmelo fit in with Lin are insane? Think a couple of weeks ago, did you think that would happen? No way. Every NBA analyst, commentator, scout, didn’t see this coming (though now reports that some people saw it). Fans, forget about it. In the brief minutes he played in the Bay Area, he looked raw, talented, slow, undersized and not ready for the NBA. And we were rewarded with that fact that he spent many days in the D-League, though he tore it up down there too.
But really, who would have thought an un-drafted, Harvard guy would be lighting it up in one of the biggest stages. I mean this is Madison Square Garden. People don’t forgive easily and they don’t forget quickly. There “New Yorkars!”
Quick recap of his road to success. Parents emigrated to the US from Taiwan. Jeremy Lin was born in Los Angles, but the family moved up to Palo Alto, CA and he spent his high school days there. He led Palo Alto high to the championship but received no basketball athletic scholarships. Instead, with a tremendous GPA and a decent skill, Harvard took their chase to the next level. With only Harvard really chasing him, Lin headed East. At first, Harvard was like the NBA. Didn’t see the kid and the future, but after given an opportunity, he excelled and was the best player for Harvard. He even scored 30 points against the Connecticut Huskies. Come 2010, Lin graduates with a degree in economics but does not draw enough attention to be drafted. No matter, he works out for several NBA teams, but only the Dallas Mavericks offer him a summer league invite. But Lin, believing in faith, holds this as another opportunity. There he impresses some people. A few teams come calling and so does the Golden State Warriors, his hometown team.
A dream has come true. Warriors and Lin agree on a two year deal, with the first year with guarenteed money. Seems like this is the break he needs. Hometown team, playing in the NBA and a large group of followers from the Asian community in the Bay Area. Only he gets stuck behind Curry and Ellis and eventually Charlie Bell, Acie Law and Reggie Williams. He did not play much his rookie year and was sent back and forth to the D-League. While he saw this as a demotion, his unwavering work ethic, let him continue to dominate the D-League.
Fast forward to the NBA lockout end date and Lin is still with the Warriors. But with the Warriors (for god’s unknown reason) wanting to go after RESTRICTED free agent DeAndre Jordan, they had to clear cap space, therefore ending their contract with Lin. But he is picked up by the Houston Rockets only to be let go again to clear up cap space so they can sign Samuel Dalembert (which I wanted for the Warriors). By this time, New York was in such desperate mode for another guard, Lin was picked up off waivers and was going to be the back, back, back- up point guard. He was also sent down to the D-League. But with a setback to Baron Davis and a old Mike Bibby, Lin finally got the once chance to prove he belongs in the league. Not a perfect debut against the Boston Celtics, but it was enough to convince Mike D’Antoni to give another shot.
And Lin has not only saved D’Antoni’s job, but he has resurrected New York basketball. In nine games without Carmelo Anthony, eight games without Amare Stoudimire, the Knicks are 8-1. And Lin has been the eye of the storm. In the last five games, he’s averaged about 22 points and 10 assists in about 38 minutes per game. Yes, there is a big deal about him and his turnovers (averaging about seven per game right now) but it’s all a second hand story since he’s exploded onto the scene. He’s made everyone play and look better. Jeff Van Gundy said it best the other day. Before Lin, NY was struggling, even with two superstars. The minute they go down and they get a true point guard, suddenly there is chemistry. You can’t teach chemistry, but when you see it, you’ll know it. And that is what we are seeing with Linsanity. There I said it!
Amare should and hasn’t shown any trouble fitting in. He’s a guy who does a nice pick and roll and he has always excelled with another great distributor, Steve Nash, who now Lin has been compared to. It’s a crazy question, but can Carmelo, curb his game to fit in with Lin? Who’d would have thought that?
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. And right now, without Melo or Amare, the Knicks were rolling. Why try to change your offense, when your offense if fine without those two? Time will only tell how Lin is, as teams will beef up defense against him, like Dallas did. He’s young and he’s still raw but he’s the real deal. Look at all those teams that passed on him (Warriors!?!?!?!?!?!) and look at the teams that now have their calendar circled when they play the Knicks. The guy will give a team fits. And really, he is a cheap asset. He is barely making $700,000 and his heartwarming struggle to survive story is great. He’ll only continue more publicity and hopefully play better.
I can’t help but root for him and the Knicks now.